The informant lives in a house in Altadena — behind her house is a trail that leads into the woods. At a certain point on that trail, there are a bunch of abandoned-looking houses that are actually occupied. This area is collectively known as Zorthian. People go there to scare themselves, but it’s rumored to be a meeting ground for local members of the KKK. There are other legends surrounding the area, but the informant isn’t clear on those.

Because the informant’s house is so close to Zorthian, she can sometimes hear the screams — and subsequent laughter — of the people who go there to scare themselves. She also frequently sees cop cars in the area, as Zorthian’s residents call in police to take care of trespassing people in the area.

At night, the entire area is tree-lined and very dark. People, especially teenagers, go there to drink and smoke. This practice is clearly despised by the people who actually live there, but because of the creepy, strange associations of just the buildings and where they are themselves, people still go to the area to scare and be scared.

The informant, one of my housemates, shared the story with me in conversation.

What I find really interesting about this story is how even though it’s generally acknowledged that there’s nothing especially haunted or out of place in Zorthian (besides its ridiculous name), locals still treat it as such, even if only in a joking way.